Exposing the negative propaganda against Jammu & Kashmir, a report by the Government of India has confirmed that there has not been a single crime reported against tourists in the state in past two years. This is despite the presence of separatist militancy in Kashmir that has only increased in the past two years.
According to a report byministry of home affairs (MHA), there has not been a single incident of crime againstforeign tourists, including females, in Jammu and Kashmir while 284 suchincidents have been reported during the period in other states of India.
MHA in its reports statesthat 'public order' and 'police' are state subjects as per the seventh scheduleof the Constitution of India. As such, crime against tourists including foreigntourists is the primary responsibility of the state governments/unionterritories.
"However,with the efforts of the union ministry of tourism, a total number of 13 stategovernments/union territory administrations have deployed the tourist policenamely Delhi, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala,Maharashtra, Odisha, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan andAndhra Pradesh in one form or the other," it adds.
It states that unionministry of tourism remains in a constant dialogue with state governments/unionterritory administrations, various tourism related institutions andstakeholders for drawing up strategies for development and promotion of tourismin the country.
The ministry of tourismalong with all stakeholders, including the tourism departments of all statesand UTs, have adopted the 'code of conduct for safe and honorable tourism'which is a set of guidelines to encourage tourism activities to be undertakenwith respect for basic right like dignity, safety and freedom from exploitationof both tourists and local residents; in particular women and children.
"This MHA report is apositive for the tourism players of Kashmir who have been a victim of negativepropaganda unleashed by vested interests. Several media outlets and vestedpolitical interests have been campaigning against Kashmir that the place is notsafe for outsiders owning to the political situation in the area. But it is a proudreality for all of us that not a single tourist has been harmed here all theseyears despite the local residents dying almost daily in this conflict in onesand twos," said a tourism official.
Since 2014, the Kashmirtourism sector is passing through turbulent times. In 2018, the number oftourists who visited Kashmir was lowest in recent years. Only 8.5 lakh touristsvisited Kashmir in last year which included 50000 foreigners.
"Our hospitability isbest. We opened our hotels for stranded tourists last week when the Airport wasclosed for a brief period. This report has again reiterated that Kashmir is thesafest place in India for foreign tourists," said Mushtaq Ahmad Chaya,Chairman, Jammu and Kashmir Hoteliers Club.
Chaya said: "No matterwhat the situation in Kashmir is, but our tourists are always safe and welcome.Though outside news outlets are hell bent to defame us, our hospitality andwarmth have always won over hatred."